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H E Jones, J M W Gee, K M Taylor, D Barrow, H D Williams, M Rubini, and R I Nicholson

Aberrant signalling through the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is associated with increased cancer cell proliferation, reduced apoptosis, invasion and angiogenesis. Over-expression of the EGFR is seen in a variety of tumours and is a rational target for antitumour strategies. Among the classes of agent targeting the EGFR are small-molecule inhibitors, which include gefitinib (IRESSA™), which acts by preventing EGFR phosphorylation and downstream signal transduction. De novo and acquired resistance, however, have been reported to gefitinib and here we describe evidence which indicates that the type II receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) insulin-like growth factor-I receptor (IGF-IR) and/or insulin receptor (InsR) play important roles in the mediation of responses to gefitinib in the de novo- and acquired-resistance phenotypes in several cancer types. Moreover, combination strategies that additionally target the IGF-IR/InsR can enhance the antitumour effects of gefitinib.

Free access

Tullio Florio, Federica Barbieri, Renato Spaziante, Gianluigi Zona, Leo J Hofland, Peter M van Koetsveld, Richard A Feelders, Günter K Stalla, Marily Theodoropoulou, Michael D Culler, Jesse Dong, John E Taylor, Jacques-Pierre Moreau, Alexandru Saveanu, Ginette Gunz, Henry Dufour, and Philippe Jaquet

Dopamine D2 and somatostatin receptors (sstrs) were reported to affect non-functioning pituitary adenoma (NFPA) proliferation in vitro. However, the reported results differ according to the experimental conditions used. We established an experimental protocol allowing reproducible evaluation of NFPA cell proliferation in vitro, to test and compare the antiproliferative effects of dopamine and somatostatin analogs (alone or in combination) with the activity of the dopamine–somatostatin chimeric molecule BIM-23A760. The protocol was utilized by four independent laboratories, studying 38 fibroblast-deprived NFPA cell cultures. Cells were characterized for GH, POMC, sstr1–sstr5, total dopamine D2 receptor (D2R) (in all cases), and D2 receptor long and short isoforms (in 15 out of 38 cases) mRNA expression and for α-subunit, LH, and FSH release. D2R, sstr3, and sstr2 mRNAs were consistently observed, with the dominant expression of D2R (2.9±2.6 copy/copy β-glucuronidase; mean±s.e.m.), when compared with sstr3 and sstr2 (0.6±1.0 and 0.3±0.6 respectively). BIM-23A760, a molecule with high affinity for D2R and sstr2, significantly inhibited [3H]thymidine incorporation in 23 out of 38 (60%) NFPA cultures (EC50=1.2 pM and E max=−33.6±3.7%). BIM-23A760 effects were similar to those induced by the selective D2R agonist cabergoline that showed a statistically significant inhibition in 18 out of 27 tumors (compared with a significant inhibition obtained in 17 out of 27 tumors using BIM-23A760, in the same subgroup of adenomas analyzed), while octreotide was effective in 13 out of 27 cases. In conclusion, superimposable data generated in four independent laboratories using a standardized protocol demonstrate that, in vitro, chimeric dopamine/sstr agonists are effective in inhibiting cell proliferation in two-thirds of NFPAs.

Open access

Adel Mandl, James M Welch, Gayathri Kapoor, Vaishali I Parekh, David S Schrump, R Taylor Ripley, Mary F Walter, Jaydira Del Rivero, Smita Jha, William F Simonds, Robert T Jensen, Lee S Weinstein, Jenny E Blau, and Sunita K Agarwal

Patients with the multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1) syndrome carry germline heterozygous loss-of-function mutations in the MEN1 gene which predisposes them to develop various endocrine and non-endocrine tumors. Over 90% of the tumors show loss of heterozygosity (LOH) at chromosome 11q13, the MEN1 locus, due to somatic loss of the wild-type MEN1 allele. Thymic neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) or thymic carcinoids are uncommon in MEN1 patients but are a major cause of mortality. LOH at the MEN1 locus has not been demonstrated in thymic tumors. The goal of this study was to investigate the molecular aspects of MEN1-associated thymic tumors including LOH at the MEN1 locus and RNA-sequencing (RNA-Seq) to identify genes associated with tumor development and potential targeted therapy. A retrospective chart review of 294 patients with MEN1 germline mutations identified 14 patients (4.8%) with thymic tumors (12 thymic NETs and 2 thymomas). LOH at the MEN1 locus was identified in 10 tumors including the 2 thymomas, demonstrating that somatic LOH at the MEN1 locus is also the mechanism for thymic tumor development. Unsupervised principal component analysis and hierarchical clustering of RNA-Seq data showed that thymic NETs formed a homogenous transcriptomic group separate from thymoma and normal thymus. KSR2 (kinase suppressor of Ras 2), that promotes Ras-mediated signaling, was abundantly expressed in thymic NETs, a potential therapeutic target. The molecular insights gained from our study about thymic tumors combined with similar data from other MEN1-associated tumors may lead to better surveillance and treatment of these rare tumors.